“THE SPECTACULAR NOW”–A New Film Review
“THE SPECTACULAR NOW”—A New Film Review
Dear Esteemed Visitor,
It’s A Meet-Cute Romance!
“GO DAWGS!” Wouldn’t that be a well-fitting intro for a movie whose setting is either at or close to The University of Georgia? It’s the story of a high school playboy and a wallflower girl. One morning he wakes up on her front lawn—after a night of binging– and without any notion of how he got there– completely dazed and mystified to see her. He is Sutter Keely played by Miles Teller, and she is Aimee Finicky who’s played by Shailene Woodley. Thus starts up their “meet-cute” romance. He is “Mister Now Guy”–not bothering with future plans. She–on the opposite hand–is the sort of girl who is going through teenage-hood–fully sensing that when the music stops she’s got to have a chair to sit upon.
Movies Are Not Real Life!
Cinematically, they’re two peas in a pod. I was rooting a lot for them. But scripters have a way of committing that which they ought not to: They let actors say or do those things which viewers don’t expect them to do–based on how we’ve viewed them. (They’re out of character.) Movies are not real life. In real life folks do all sorts of things out of character, and sooner or later we decide how we’ll handle them. But in movies: if a wallflower in bed with her boyfriend hands him a condom, we find ourselves gasping: “I thunk she’s a virgin!” Or when this young man functions from swigs of liquor out of a pocket flask, and acts like he’s going to be okay, we have to shake our heads: “Don’t you see who you are?” This is the same guy who blacked out the night he ended up on Miss Aimee’s front lawn. (“Me? No Problem!”)
I Was Disappointed!
So, though I thought the two of these youngsters really blended well on the screen, I was disappointed with how their characters got tarnished from the lack of integral
relationship… You may think otherwise: if you go to watch this film and sustain some flashbacks to your own adolescence– recalling all the pain and frustrated emotions there… All I can report is that with all of the good chemistry these two exuded, I simply had a sense that I was being had by the scripters, which upset me.
Am I Too Finicky?
The director of “THE SPECTACULAR NOW” was James Ponsoldt, and I felt like the pace and sequence of his film went along quite well. He did the best that he could do– given material from the book by Tim Tharp. But here’s something that puzzled me: Aimee’s last name happens to be “Finicky”. Now, wouldn’t you think top guns would say, “If her name’s ‘finicky’, shouldn’t we make her that?” Again, that’s what you do in film. If one’s name happens to be Noel “Coward”, one doesn’t have to be a coward… But if a man is named that in a film, I think he really needs to act that way.
How Should I Grade This Film?
How should I grade this film? It does have a lot of the ‘bulldog’ in its production: “docile, friendly, willful, gregarious”… but like some bulldogs it acts out of line. I think a FOUR is all that I have spirit for. “GO DAWGS!” (Better luck the next time.)
Humbler Acts, creator of “THE WIZARD’S OUTRAGEOUS SCHEME FOR STOPPING SMOKING”, reports one film every week as a relaxation from his speaking and writing on stopping smoking through dream use and Seven Forces. He’s American, English-educated, residing in St. Louis, MO (U.S.A.) He can be reached: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 314-574-7681
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